Apr 08

Getting Your Iron Shots Closer

How to Hit Accurate Iron Shots

It should go without saying that getting your iron shots closer to the hole is a good thing. Shorter putts are easier to make than longer putts, and your scorecard will quickly shrink if you are able to consistently get it in close more often than not. As you know, it is not always easy to get the ball close to the hole. Bunkers, slopes, wind, and more all conspire to keep your ball far from the hole and make life on the course more difficult. Armed with a good game plan and a consistent thought process for your approach shots, you can start to close in on the hole and hit short putts for birdie more often.

The following tips will help you formulate your plan and improve your approaches in your very next round.

One Club More

The best advice an amateur golfer can get is to take an extra club on every approach shot. Picking an extra club will help you concentrate on a smooth swing and give you more margin for error if you mishit the shot slightly. When you choose an iron that you have to hit perfectly in order to reach the hole, a couple of bad things happen. First, you will swing as hard as you can knowing that you need to get it all in order to reach the target. A hard swing puts too much spin on the ball, and can cost you control over the shot. Also, you put more pressure on yourself to make perfect contact. The reality is that most shots are not hit perfectly, so planning on a perfect shot is a mistake. Take one extra club, swing easy, and give yourself more margin for error on every approach.

Read the Green from the Fairway

Usually, your ball will roll some once it lands on the green. Naturally, it will roll downhill when that happens. If you are able to land your ball on the uphill side of the hole, that roll out will allow the ball to get closer and your putt to get shorter. Take note of the slope of the green from standing back in the fairway and adjust your aim accordingly. By picking a target that puts your ball in a position to roll closer when it lands, you can use the course to your advantage instead of always fighting against it.

Forget About Backspin  

Have you seen the pros on TV spin a wedge shot backward after it lands? Here’s a secret – pros HATE when the ball spins backward. That kind of shot is impossible to control consistently, and takes wedge shots farther away from the hole more often than not. A pro golfer wants to hit a shot that stops cold right where it lands, and you should want to do the same. Rather than trying to find a wedge with really strong grooves that can get you backspin, try to set up your clubs so that your ball stops as close to where it lands as possible.

Respect the Rough

A shot hit from the rough – even rough that isn’t very long – will not stop as quickly as a shot hit from the fairway. If you have missed the fairway on a particular hole, the first thing you need to do is lower your expectations for the approach shot. You won’t have as much control over the shot, so aim at a more conservative target to ensure you land safely on the green. If the hole location is near a bunker or other hazard, forget about it and just try to find the biggest part of the green that you can access from your position. Having a clear area to run the ball up onto the green will give you more room for error if the ball doesn’t come up very high out of the rough. Save the aggressive shots for holes where you hit a good drive – play smart from the rough and you can avoid wasting shots on the scorecard.


Golf is a little harder than just grabbing an iron and swinging away with the hopes of getting close to the hole. You need to construct a game plan for each shot, and have the confidence in yourself to execute that game plan. You won’t make perfect swings every time – that is just the way golf works. However, you can make a perfect game plan every time and give yourself the best chance at success. Use the tips above and think through each shot before you take the club back. You will be amazed at how much better you can score simply by using a few simple tips and getting your ball consistently closer to the hole.

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